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A Monday Medley

Today, Monday, dawned bright and sunny.  We had some errands to do in our local town, and parked on the sea front.  We asked Mr Gull, perched above, to keep an eye on our car; to make sure his relatives didn’t leave their calling cards all over it.

Our town is very much a typical British seaside town, what used to be called a bucket-and-spade holiday resort, especially for families with children.  This means that there are lots of amusement arcades, not only on the pier but also in the town; also cheap food and clothing outlets, and coffee shops galore.  They aren’t our kind of places, but we can understand why they are there.

After parking on the sea front – leaving Mr Gull in charge of our car – we walked up this street, known to locals as ‘Grockle Alley’ (because in Devon tourists are called ‘grockles’; in Cornwall they are called ’emmets’ which is Cornish for ‘ants’) passing all the cheap clothing outlets and amusement arcades.  We were heading towards the town’s Library in order to return some books for our grandson.

Photo taken 2013

The Library was built a few years ago and at a time when local authorities were finding austerity measures difficult and more libraries were closing rather than opening.  So we are grateful that we have such a lovely library in our town, where not only can books be borrowed, but DVDs, there is access to computers, there are meeting rooms for hire, and an Information Centre. Also, there is a very nice coffee shop.

After returning the books, we walked into the town so that I could collect my new varifocal glasses.  Not sure whether I will ‘get on’ with them yet, but I have a month in which to try them out and then decide whether to keep them or not.

In the town is also the Picture House, now sadly in a state of semi-dereliction.

This cinema first opened on 16th March 1914 and it is believed to be the oldest surviving purpose-built cinema not only in Britain but in Europe.  There are 375 seats plus three private ‘boxes’ at the back seating an additional eight people.  It closed on 26th September 1999 following the opening of a multiplex cinema on the sea front (which used to be a concert hall and where husband and I attended many concerts.)  Plans are now in place to restore this gracious old building, where apparently Seat 2, Row 2 of the circle was the favourite seat of crime novelist, Dame Agatha Christie, who lived at Greenway House, about six miles from this cinema.  I do hope that the plans come to fruition, I have fond memories of visiting this cinema in the 1960s.

We then collected our car from the sea front, Mr Gull had long since disappeared but his relatives hadn’t left their calling cards so he’d obviously taken care of it for us.  We then decided to have a round of sandwiches in our favourite sea front hotel before returning home …

I had a pot of tea today, a change from beer (and tea, coffee or hot chocolate always comes with two biscuits per person and there was sufficient tea in the pot for me to have not one, but three cupsful.)

* * * *

I have now ordered some cereal bowls to go with the blue & white plates and I’m looking forward to their arrival.  I thought the blue & white would look attractive for breakfast, especially for scrambled eggs …

And while we were in the supermarket, I happened to see some blue & white mugs, so have bought those, too.  They don’t match exactly the plates by Burleigh, but they are a similar theme.

We have just finished watching the eighth and final part of The Collection. We have thoroughly enjoyed it and we hope that a second series will be made. The story has certainly been left open-ended as if a second series has already been planned.  We weren’t familiar with any of the actors, which was actually a help as they became the roles they played, if you understand my meaning (with the exception of the actor, Frances de la Tour, perhaps best known for her role as Miss Jones in the long-ago comedy series, Rising Damp.)

Last night we saw, and almost enjoyed, the first part of the new BBC1 drama series of Howards End.  Unfortunately, another potentially-good drama series has been ruined (for us, anyway) by an overly-obtrusive musical background score.  Do these programme-makers never learn that we need to hear the actors voices; if we wanted to listen to an orchestra, we’d attend a concert.

Until next time.



About Margaret Powling

Margaret Powling
Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. So fascinating how the amusement area is full of cheap stores. In Auckland, New Zealand, we have quite a few areas of shops of cheap food, clothes, and what are called ‘$2 shops’ because everything in the shop is supposed to cost only $2, and, as you can imagine, all of these shops are concentrated in the less affluent areas. No amusement places, though. It’s nice that your blue and white crockery stash is growing, Margaret, they are charming.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, we have a number of what we call pound stores, too Ratnamurti, and concentrated in the less-affluent areas.
      I love the blue & white pottery, I find it really pleasing and while I always like to see food on plain white porcelain, it does make a pleasant change.

  2. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    As you say you can understand why these places are in the town, helps keep the local businesses going. I am so glad there were no calling cards on your car, some of these seagulls are quite big and scary looking aren’t they, but I know there only after something to eat. It is nice to see the picture house is going to be restored, I really don’t like to see old buildings full of history neglected. I have to admit I had to ask my husband to turn the sound up on Howard’s End. I do enjoy these period dramas.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, we had to turn up the sound so we could hear the actors’ voices on Howards End, and then of course, the music became louder, too. There must be technology available now to have these programmes with or without the full orchestral score as background. I mean, when you go into the countryside, you aren’t accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, are you? So why add it to a drama? If they do it to drown out modern-say sounds of aircraft and sirens, then they can do what they call an ambient sound recording and put that on the soundtrack, i.e. birds singing in the countryside, that would be much better, the rustle of wind in the trees, the sound of a river. We don’t need the full brass, timpani and strings, do we?
      Yes, I hope the Picture House can be restored, too, Marlene, but even if it is restored, it will have to attract patrons, and with the multiplex just a few hundred yards away, I wonder whether this is possible.

  3. We used to spend our holidays in Paignton at a guest house run by a Mrs Sargent – she would occassionally babysit for me and my brother to give my mum and dad a night off to themselves. My mum and dad always promised me a trip to the swings each teatime in the park. I am sure I would not remember the place now if I went back – I do remember the amusement arcades though we used to stroll past them on an evening and I was always eager to have a ride in one of the little cars at the entrance.

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, all those little cars and things are still outside the arcades, Viv! And there are swings still in Victoria Park – well, there were when we last went through the park which is a while ago. Little children now have what is called a Geoplay Park on the sea front, lots of wooden things and rope things to climb on and swing from. It is still a nice play for a holiday if you are tiny, with a sandy beach.

  4. Your library is much better than our local one in Newmarket Margaret, despite a much publicised makeover it looks really quite sparse and empty, it’s a shame as we do try to use it as much as possible.
    I did enjoy Howard’s End on the whole but have to agree over the over use of what should be background music, I was also annoyed by the over long preview of next week’s episode, did we really need to see so much of it!!

    • Margaret Powling

      It’s really annoying to be given an over-long preview of the next episode, we then feel we’ve already seen it! I do think it would’ve been better without the loud music, I expect there will be plenty of letters about this, yet again, in the Radio Times. But yes, we are very fortunate in having a lovely library in Paignton. I used to use our library a lot (I mean the old one which this one replaced) and would read book reviews in the paper and then order them at 50p a time on a special ordering card. I’ve no idea how much it is to order a book not, but instead I buy inexpensive books online which can often work out cheaper than driving to town, parking (£2 for 2 hours on the sea front, even more within the town) and paying to order a book. I feel guilty about this; I feel I should use the library more often, but when it’s so easy to order online and have a book delivered to my door, I find that difficult to resist.

  5. I’m with you on wanting to hear the actor’s voices! Love your blue and white plates/cups – but with blue being my favorite color, blue and white plates, etc. are a favorite. You certainly have a lovely library! I love the library and frequent it often. No matter where I’ve lived, one of the first things I have always done is find the local library and get a library card.

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Jeannine, and yes, hearing actors’ voices would be wonderful. This never used to be a problem and it’s not our aged hearing I don’t think, especially for me as my hearing seems as acute as ever, but diction. It isn’t considered modern to annunciate clearly. I’m sure an actor doesn’t have to speak ‘actorly’ in a stilted way, but simply clearly. Pronouncing consonants, ending words properly, not put whole words together so they sound as one. It’s as if life has speeded up so much, with the communications, our mobile/cell phones, etc, everything is instant; everything is rush, rush, rush and no one seems to have time even to speak clearly and at a speed at which we can assimilate what is being said. At this rate, soon we will have reduced speech to grunts.
      Yes, we do have a lovely library and I must make a bigger effort to visit it more often. And I’m really pleased with the blue & white plates/cups and look forward to receiving the cereal bowls shortly.

  6. Your blue and white collection is coming along nicely.

    Like the above comments, I also use our local library alot as they have a great supply of DVDs, books and magazines. Ours was built only a few years ago and is many times larger – as well as brighter, lighter and well kitted out – than the old one. As it has air con and our locale is very humid in summer, it can be very popular with both locals and tourists. An excellent resource.

    The old picture theatre is a handsome building. You need an altruistic community-minded gazillionaire to fund its restoration and rejuvenation. Not much to ask, really 😉

    I’m glad you enjoyed ‘The Collection’. I did too – the fashions were stunning, even the employees’ White work coats (like lab coats, which I wore for work but were never like that !) were tailored and ‘just so’. The scenery, the plot, the acting were all superb. I also hope they do a second season.

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh, yes, an altruistic gazillionaire would be wonderful if such a person could help that old cinema, Lara!

      Yes, I admired the white coats of the employees in The Collection, and all the wonderful 1950s New Look fashions. Yes, there must surely be a second season for this, it was so open-ended.

  7. Most of the time now we have subtitles on when we’re watching television. My husband is almost deaf in one ear and I struggle sometimes to understand what is being said. It’s loud enough, but it’s just not clear.

    You had a lovely day for a walk round. Yesterday it was sunny here but today is dull and cold. The temperature is higher than yesterday (no frost) but without the sun it feels dreary and cheerless.

    Still, I’m meeting my oldest daughter later at a garden centre for a wander. The same one I went to last week with my younger daughter but I don’t mind. Nice to get out for an hour.

    Hope you are feeling completely well now.

    • Margaret Powling

      That’s exactly it, Alison: many of the programmes are loud enough but not clear enough. Those acting seem to forget that they know their lines, what they are saying. We’re hearing them for the first time, we need to hear them clearly in order to follow the plot.
      Enjoy the garden centre, I expect there will be a lot of Christmas things on show now.

  8. Eloise. (thisissixty.blog)

    Despite my liking for plain white China, I do think breakfast looks nice serve on traditional China. My grandmother’s dinner service was blue and white willow pattern and was used for every meal. It would have seemed very odd to have eaten off anything else.
    Libraries have changed a great deal over the years. No more ‘quiet please’.
    Today they are much more community oriented and the modern ones usually have nice coffee shops.

    • Margaret Powling

      I love blue & white Willow Pattern china, Eloise. But I decided on something a little different and I do like serving breakfast on the blue & white china. I’m now thinking of another pattern to buy … and it’s possible to buy oddments of china from services such as China Match.
      No, there are certainly no Quiet Please signs in the library any more but I have to say it wasn’t particularly noisy in there, at least there was no musak blaring out, for which we have to be grateful!

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